Monday, October 19, 2015

The Book Bin - Northbrook, IL

The Book Bin - Northbrook, IL
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How long has The Book Bin been around?  Let me put it this way.  If Book Bin were a dog it would be 308 years old.  But in terms of independent bookstore years, that ratio should be higher than 7:1.  When The Book Bin started back in 1971, the internet, e-readers, Amazon, and chain book stores were nowhere to be found.  It has survived all these challenges to the business as well as numerous other hurdles.  Yet, here it is not only surviving, but thriving in a wonderful northern Chicago suburb.  A great tradition with a great future.

I was hoping to meet Janis or Lex, the long-time owners of The Book Bin, on my visit.  But as it turns out, they are no longer the owners as of last week.  The new owner is Alli M. and although her position as owner is new, her presence at The Book Bin is not.  She started working here when she was 16 and now has been here 20+ years.  In my opinion, this will allow the store to have a very smooth transition for the staff and the community.

The store has been located in the same Northbrook Plaza shopping area since 1971, but located in its current space of the plaza since about 2000.  Even though this is a shopping area, it feels like a neighborhood bookstore since it is surrounded by residential.  There are some sidelines in this one-level store including reading glasses, greeting cards, and lots of great stuff for kids.  The success of this store is due to a strongly loyal, local customer base as well as a staff of booksellers who are customer friendly and provide outstanding service.  These are trademarks of the successful indies I've visited.  They also enjoy a good relationship with some of the local schools and are able to fill some of their large book orders, a good plus for the store.  But one of my favorite things here?  Free parking close to the store!  Oh thank you, Book Bin!

I had a great visit with Nancy (Janis's daughter) and Meg, as well as Alli who was so gracious to visit with me during a very busy morning.  I got a good vibe from these 3 about the future of independent bookstores and the future of The Book Bin.  Seriously, an independent that has been around for 44+ years deserves every bit of recognition it can get.  What a great achievement!  Do your part to recognize this fine indie by paying it a visit.  You'll come away just as impressed as I was.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  My Real Children, Jo Walton.  An elderly lady with some dementia is recalling two lives lived, one with a lousy husband and four children, another with a lesbian partner and three children.  A unique story with a dual reality.  I liked this and recommend it.

CURRENTLY READING:  I Am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  I Am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes (Boy, this one really butted in line in front of all those waiting in the pile!).

A nice front window display and a little bench for little readers.  

View looking straight through the store from the front entrance.  

An appropriate display for the upcoming Halloween season.  

Look for this area if you're on a budget.  

The Cubs are kind of a big deal this year.  I love this display.  

I haven't noticed this item in other stores yet.  Pillows for your book when you're stretched out reading.  I think this is a great sideline.  

A nice place to sit and try out a new book.  This is near the front of the store.  

An attractive display of recent releases with reduced prices.  

Lots of good sidelines here for kids.  

A few more of the sidelines.  

There are some good Melissa & Doug items here.  

When you're ready to make your purchase, look for this area.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front.  

Some unique items that you'll need as the temperature drops.  

A partial view of the children's section.  

With Alli on the left and Nancy on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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